Films screening this fortnight are listed below with certificate. credits. brief review and venue details. Film index compiled by Alan Morrison.
Absolute Power ( )5) (Clint Eastwood. US. I997) Clint Eastwood. Gene Hackman. Ed Ham's. IZI mins. During a gripping opening twenty minutes of edge-of—the-seat cinema. older-aged art thief Luther Whitney (Eastwood) witnesses a rather compomising bonk-fest while burglarising a mansion one night. then ﬁnds himself implicated in a scandal that goes to the top of society. To reveal much more of the plot would be to spoil those spellbinding initial moments which. along with the performances from Glenn and Davis. really are the ﬁnest parts of the movie. The rest is something of a let down. General release.
African Cinema Study Day I()am—3pm. Sat I4 Jun. African ﬁlms rarely receive distribution in this country. but the continent has a cinema style that is second to none in its development of traditional storytelling traditions in the new medium. The day begins with an introduction to the themes by lmruh Bakari. lecturer in Media. Film and Communication at King Alfred's College in Winchester; this is followed by a screening of the brilliant documentary Content D'Afrique and an illustrated talk and discussion on the history of African cinema to date. Glasgow: GET.
Anatomy Of A Murder ( IS) (Otto Preminger. US. I959) James Stewart. Ben Gazzara. Lee Remick. 160 mins. One of the director's best. as small-time lawyer Stewart defends accused murderer Gazzara. The title is accurate. for the cool style picks apart the mechanical processes of the courtroom. The Duke Ellington score is excellent. Glasgow: GET. Angel Heart (l8) (Alan Parker. US. I987) Mickey Rourke. Robert de Niro. Charlotte Rampling. I 13 mins. Scniffy private eye Harry Angel is hired by the mysterious Louis Cyphre to track down a missing 40s crooner who has reneged on a life-ordeth deal. His investigations lead him to a seedy New Orleans dominated by voodoo cults and extremely dead bodies in this uncomfortable mating of visceral gore and moody ﬁlm noir. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Anna Karenina (12) (Bernard Rose. US. I997) Sean Bean. Sophie Marceau. Alfred Molina. 108 mins. A truly disastrous Tolstoy adaptation. which sets the doomed Karenina love story against the authentic backdrop of imperial Russia. is scuppered by idiotic casting and a turgid attempt at a script. The settings are lavish. Tchaikovsky is trowelled on every time a character so much as coughs. but the cumulative effect borders on the laughable. Galashiels: Pavilion.
The Associate (IS) (Donald l’etrie. US. I997) Whoopi Goldberg. Dianne Wiest. Bebe Neuwirth. ll3 mins. When Wall Street ﬁnancial analyst Laurel Ayres (Goldberg) is passed over for a promotion. she sets up her own company. But only when she invents a business partner who is male and white do doors start opening for her. The script makes broad. unsatisfying attacks on chauvinism in the workplace. so any scraps of pleasure are purely down to the star. See review. Glasgow: Odeon Quay. Showcase. UCI Clydebank. Virgin. Edinburgh: UCl. East Kilbride: UCl. Greenock: Waterfront. Paisley: Showcase.
Beautiful Thing (l5) (Hettie Macdonald. UK. 1996) Glen Berry. Linda Henry. Scott Neal. 90 mins. Jamie. a teenager having a hard time at the local comprehensive. falls for neighbour Ste. who himself is on the receiving end from his ex-boxer dad. first- timer Macdonald‘s direction is unflashy. but attuned to the inner lives of these motley individuals. and the cast work wonders. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Beavis And Butt-head Do America (12) (Mike Judge. US. I997) Mike Judge. 8i mins. America's slackest slackers go from the small to the big screen taking their toilet humour with them and causing mayhem across the US in search of a stolen TV and an unlikely opportunity to score. Needless to say things don't go as planned and the usual pant-obsessed gags follow. For devotees mainly. General release.
30 THELIST 13—26 Jun 1997
Whitewash at the White House: Gene Hackman in Absolute Power
Big Night (l5) (Stanley 'I‘ucci/Campbell Scott. US. I995) Stanley 'I'ucci. 'I‘ony Shalhoub. Ian Holm. “0 mins. Brothers Primoand Secondo Pilaggi run a New Jersey Italian restaurant that's all but bankrupt because of Primo's punctilious attitude to his cuisine. so Secondo is persuaded to set up a ‘big night' for the famous singer Louis Prima. The SOs setting is nicely but simply detailed. the characterisations strongly observed. and the dialogue gently- humorous. A warm and inviting independent movie that doesn‘t slip into easy resolutions. Edinburgh: Cameo. Paisley: Showcase. Blue In The Face (I5) (Wayne Wang. US. I995) Harvey Keitel. Roseanne. Victor Argo. 89mins. Using Keitel's cigar store manager's tangled love life as a loose narrative thread. the makers of Smoke returned to the set for an improvised portrait of Brooklyn and its residents. Witty celebrity cameos aplenty from Madonna. Jim Jarmusch and Michael J. Fox. in what is nothing less than a party on screen. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Brassed Off (15) (Mark Herman. UK. I996) Ewan McGregor. 'l‘ara Fitzgerald. Pete l’ostlethwaite. 105 mins. When the local pit is due to be closed down. it‘s the end of the day for the colliery brass band as well. even though they’ve got a chance at winning the national competition. Politics are the heart of the story. btit writer-director Harmen has created a film that balances nicely between pithy humour and heartbreaking poignauce.With As ()l/It’l'.\' Saw Us. a compilation of local newsreels. Edinburgh: Cameo.
The Boy From Mercury (PG) (Martin ‘ Duffy. Ireland/France. I995) James Hickey. Rita 'I‘ushingham. 'I‘om Courtney. 87 mins. After the death of his father. eight-year-old Harry decides that he and his dog are really from outer space. His obsessions with flash Gordon serials doesn‘t help. but a friendship with a boy from the other. wealthier side of Dublin brings him to life. A lovely. tender period piece with touches of Billy Liar. Reviewed in full next issue. Glasgow: Gl’l'. The Celluloid Closet ( l 5) (Rob
Epstein/Jeffrey l-‘riedman. US. I995) 102 mins. Mixing archive clips and perceptive. often witty. interviews. this informative study of the coded gay characters and themes in the history of Hollywood is undeniably entertaining. Unfortunately. it's like ()-l.evel '(iays In I-‘ilm' for those who know anything about the subject and the analysis of modern gay movies lacks both context and intellectual rigour. Edinburgh; Cameo.
The Chamber ( I 2) (James l-‘olcy. US. l997) Gene Hackman. Chris ()‘Donnell. liayc Dunaway. I I7 mitts. A rookie lawyer (()'I)onell) prepares the final appeal for a Death Row initiate (Hackman) - an unashamed racist awaiting execution for the murder of two Jewish children 27 years before — who happens to be his grandfather. In a story that swings between being the fascinating and the tedious. Ilackman is a
joy. and the film only ever really comes
alive during his scenes. See review. General release.
A Chinese Ghost Story ( IS) (Chin Siu 'I‘ung. Hong Kong. 1987) Leslie Chung. 93 mins. While visiting a haunted temple. a young debt collector falls prey to the charms of a delightful young lady ghost. Engagineg over-the-top commercial ﬁlmmaking frotn Hong Kong. with kung fu. slapstick comedy. gruesome special effects and traditional supernatural elements rolled together into one wild package. Watch out for the rapping monk and the killer tongue. Edinburgh: Catneo. Stirling: MacRobert.
City On Fire (l8) (Ringo Lam. llong Kong. I987) Chow Yun-l-‘at. Danny l.ee. Sun Yeuh. I()l mins. The bit that 'I‘arantino ripped off for Reservoir Dogs — a botched heist and subsequent stand-oft in a warehouse — occurs at the very end of this movie. which is more concerned with the individual than the ensemble. A maverick undercover cop is forced to infiltrate a gang ofjewel thieves. bttt becomes caught tip in a personal battle of loyalty and betrayal. ()ne of the finest Hong Kong action movies. this is a great cult item in its own right. Edinburgh: Cameo.
Con Air (I5) (Simon West. US. I997) Nicolas Cage. John Malkovich. John Cusack. “2 mins. Sit down. strap yourself in. stick your head into the roar of the jet engine of this noisy. stretch-the-credibility movie. Cage plays a manslaughter parolee whose prison plane ride home is hijacked by vicious convict Malkovich. so he draws on his military training and strong sense of honour to save the innocents in the air from certain death. Even under a constant attack of big bangs. action set-pieces and dry one- liners. the audience can‘t help but wrinkle its collective brow at the plot's illogical hiccups. General release. Cosi (Mark Joffe. Australia. 1997) I00 mins. A special preview of Joffe‘s feature about a laid-back directed hired to stage a production of Mozart's Cosi Fun Time at a Sydney asylum. Edinburgh: Cameo. Costa Brava - A Family Album (Marta Balletbo-Coll. Spain. I994) 90 mins. In a droll comedy about a lesbian romance. the director plays a performance artist/tour guide who falls for an Israeli engineer. A tentative. sensitive exploration of two strong psyches. set against the backdrops of Barcelona and the Costa Brava. Edinburgh: Filmhouse. Crash ( l8) (David Cronenbcrg. Canada. I996) James Spader. Holly Hunter. Elias Koteas. 100 mins. Finally passed uncut. Crush is not — as the Daily Mail and local councils would have you believe — a ﬁlm which will inspire copycat car crashes or copulation amidst the ensuing wreckage. Instead it is a cool. insidiously disturbing study of an evolving human pathology based on eroticised car crashes and techno- fantasies. Every hetero and homosexual permutation is explored as the ﬁxed boundaries of ‘normal' sexuality give way to a creatively ‘perverse‘ ﬂuidity. Provocative. extreme and intellectually exhilarating. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Odeon Quay. Edinburgh: Cameo. UCl. The Crucible ( l2) (Nicholas Hytner. US. I996) Daniel Day Lewis. Winona Ryder. Paul Scoﬁeld. I24 mins. Arthur Miller adapts his classic stage play based on the l7th century Salem witch trials and it still questions many of today's irrational and hysterical belief systems. The ﬁnger-pointing is done by a spurned young woman. who accuses her ex- lover‘s wife of witchcraft. and soon an all- cosuming tide of evil and hypocrisy is devastating their village. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Stirling: MacRobert. Danny The Champion Of The World (U) (Gavin Millar. UK. I989) Jeremy Irons. Robbie Coltrane. Cyril Cusack. 97 mins. Roald Dahl's tale of a corrupt property baron and pheasant-slayer (Coltrane) given his come-uppance by a resourceful nine- year-old becomes wholesome entertainment. Charming and warmhearted. with enough subtlety to keep the grown-ups amused. Stirling: MacRobert. The Devil's Own (I5) (Alan J. Pakula. US. I997) Harrison Ford. Brad Pitt. Ruben Blades. I l l mins. His father a victim of the “security forces'. Pitt is driven into the IRA. but escapes to America. where he plots a daring revenge from the sanctuary of Irish- American NYPI) man Harrison Ford‘s home. The tension between the dedicated terrorist and the family nest is the ﬁlm's strongest suit; almost everything else is disastrous. not least the virtually unquestioned acceptance of the IRA cause. See preview and review. General release. Donnie Brasco (I8) (Mike Newell. US. I997) Al Pacino. Johnny Depp. Michael Madsen. I27 mins. Depp plays a federal agent who gains the conﬁdence of mob underling Al Pacino as part of a major surveillance operation in late '70s New York. but their growing bond threatens the forthcoming bust. Through his eyes. we learn the language. rituals. and economic realities of being a made man. The violence and setting might not be new. but the filmmakers play with genre expectations. Glasgow: ()deons. Showcase. UCl Clydebank. Edinburgh: ()deon. UCl. East Kilbride: UCl. Paisley: Showcase. Edinburgh College of Art Screenings Such is the volume of work produced this year by the ECA students that the graduation screenings are split over two evenings. The jump in quality over the last few years bodes well for this year's output. Reviewed next issue. Edinburgh: Filmhouse.